How does it feel to wear someone else’s clothes?

by Sylvia

How does it feel wearing someone else's clothes? | 40PlusStyle.com

Anja had a great idea for an experiment.

Why not try on each other’s clothes and see what it feels like? Would it feel very different? Would we discover new things about ourselves or would it just confirm our own style preferences?

And how would the other person feel seeing their friend in their clothes?

We decided to put it to the test and Anja tried on some of my outfits. Anja’s and my style are almost complete opposites so it would be interesting to see how she felt in my clothes.

I selected some outfits for her to wear that I felt could look good on her. Anja then also selected an outfit that she especially liked.

For this occasion Anja even toned down her makeup to bring it more in line with mine.

You will find Anja’s findings below as well as my own feedback.

White pants and red asymmetrical top

Anja: I think this outfit looks good on me. I could have bought these pants myself. I thought my hubby did not care for these kind of wide pants on me but even he liked it! I think the red color looks good on me even though I would not wear this with white pants or a white skirt. As for the top, I don’t like this style at all, especially the fabric.  But more on that later.

How does it feel to wear someone else's clothes? |  40PlusStyle.com

Sylvia: I think this outfit looks really good on Anja. I like the silhouette it creates and feel that the color red is a great color for Anja. I also like the whimsical top that creates extra interest. (how I wore this top)

Black skirt and black & white blouse

How does it feel to wear someone else's clothes? | 40PlusStyle.com

Anja: I quite like this outfit even though I’m not a big fan of black & white. The silhouette is flattering and I like the yellow details.

Sylvia: I picked this outfit because I thought it would give her a nice hourglass shape and also because it’s Greetje’s favorite outfit. I think it looks good on Anja, but I also feel it’s not really ‘her’. (how I wore this outfit)

Silk asymmetrical dress

How does it feel to wear someone else's clothes? | 40PlusStyle.com

Anja: I like the lila of this dress but not so much the brown. Overall I quite like this outfit though.

Sylvia: I think this outfit looks great on Anja. Since this dress is flowy, colorful and has a print, it suits Anja’s personal style really well. (how I wore this outfit)

Asymmetrical striped tunic

changingclothes2

Anja: I don’t like this at all. I don’t mind the heels and pants so much, but I would need them in a different color as these colors are too pale and boring. I really dislike the top, both the colors, wide stripes, style and material. I find it is not flattering at all.

How does it feel to wear someone else's clothes? | 40PlusStyle.com

Sylvia: I like this outfit on Anja a lot more than she does. I think she can wear these colors and even though I love colors, I also like neutral outfits and I feel that Anja can wear them. This outfit gives her more curves and I like the asymmetrical aspects as well. If she had unbottoned the top a bit further it would have looked even better. (how I wore this outfit)

Yellow skirt and white blouse

How does it feel to wear someone else's clothes? | 40PlusStyle.com

Anja: Although I like the freshness of the color yellow, this outfit is not for me. I don’t like the materials and I don’t like to wear yellow with white. I’m not a fan of the style of both skirt and top either and find the length of the skirt slightly too long. To me this outfit feels matronly and stiff.

Anja in white and yellow |  40PlusStyle.com

Sylvia: I don’t think this outfit looks matronly at all. The accesories, shoes and color of the skirt give it enough of a young vibe. I like the knee-high length of a skirt and feel that it looks good on Anja too. The silhouette of the top and skirt give her a nice hourglass silhouette. I agree that the white color on top is not the best color for Anja though. (how I wore this outfit)

Black skinnies and printed top

Anja in prints and hat | 40PlusStyle.com

Anja: This is the outfit I chose for myself as I feel it comes closests to my own style. I quite like it. I could have bought those pants myself as well as the shoes. The print is a bit too geometrical for me and not cheerful enough (too much brown and blue). The hat could have been really nice but in this picture it is too high on my head, caused by a high bun that was in the way.

Sylvia: I was surprised that Anja chose this outfit as I do have more colorful and flowery options too. I think it’s a fun funky outfit though.  (how I wore this top)

Conclusion and general experience

Anja: What I found is a major difference in our styles is the choice of fabric. A lot of the items I wore were rigid and not flowy, soft fabrics that follow the body. The lila/brown dress was and that felt the best on me. But both the black skirt, yellow skirt, white blouse, red top and black & white top feel like they sculpt my body instead of follow it. I don’t like that at all.

Sylvia: It’s interesting to read Anja’s final observation as I never realised that I have quite a few ‘rigid’ fabrics in my closet. I have a lot of silk as well, so I feel I could have created the perfect outfit for her, by selecting the silk red top with frills instead of this more structured one. To me it’s very important that fabrics breathe (made by natural materials) and feel comfortable. But they don’t necesserily have to be flowy. I like structured items that sculpt the body and find flowy materials often too girly.

Overall, I thought that Anja looked good in my clothes but not great. I guess it does not really feel like HER. I’m used to seeing her in bright pastels, flowers and lots of accessories. So even when that is not MY style I feel it is the best for HER as it suits her personality so well. These clothes feel a bit forced on her. To me, it has confirmed the importance of dressing for your personality again. It’s so important to understand what that is and how you can express that in your clothes.

You may like to do a similar experiment with a friend and see if you discover something new about yourself!

We have not done the reverse experiment yet (me wearing Anja’s clothes) and may do that in the coming weeks if you would find it interesting. Let me know! You can find more of Anja at Curly Traveller.

For now, I would love to hear your opinion on this experiment. What do you think of Anja in my clothes? Which is your favorite outfit? Do you feel you dress for your personality yourself?

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

This looks like fun – I will have to try it with my sister, who dresses “younger” than I do (and she is much younger!). I really like that last outfit on Anja, too. xo

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Sylvia

Yes do Patti and share your experiences online. It would be interesting to read them!

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Jill Pontiere

I love the idea and I think Anja looks great. At first I thought it was Kera Sedgwick.

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Amy

Anja is beautiful!

Like you, Sylvia, she’d look good in anything. I enjoyed this!

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Naureen Mohamed

This was fun and yes, you should definitely do the experiment in reverse!

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Sylvia

Ok will do Naureen!

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Deborah

This is such an interesting post. Believe it or not, the thing that most struck me is that Anja’s hair style (which is gorgeous) is in contrast to the predominantly sleek and architectural styles you wear Sylvia. Sylvia, your sleek do (which is also gorgeous) works beautifully with your style. Anja’s hairstyle is kind of wild and a little bohemian which complements her colourful and slightly trendy style. Anja, I think you look good in Sylvia’s outfits but you don’t quite look like you.. does that make sense.

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Sylvia

You make a very good point Deborah. However, Anja’s hair is hereditary. So now we can wonder if what we are born with (like curly hair) determines our style personality. Or are there other influences? The age old discussion: nature versus nurture!

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Anja van der Vorst

True that my hair type (curls) is hereditary, but the hair style of course is not. I could choose to wear it really short, I could choose to straighten it, I could bundle it up in a ‘decent’, more tidy way. But no, (for now) I choose to have it very long (especially for an ‘elderly’ woman;-)) and messy, because that’s how I like it. So that part is really a matter of choice and style, don’t you agree?

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Sylvia

Yes, that is true Anja. There are enough examples of people that do a lot to straighten their hair. But as you know, it’s better to stick with what you naturally are so it may still have been a big influence. It’s an interesting topic!

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Deborah

That would be another interesting conversation Sylvia. I actually have naturally wavy and curly hair but I prefer it smooth and straight:) I must give that some thought in relation to my personality. And Anja, I think your curly hair and hair style is just beautiful and I love that you are are breaking with convention on what some people might think is ‘suitable’ for a mature women. I would even suggest that your hair style is part of your style signature.

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Debra@AModernTranslation

Interesting experiment. I really like the black & white outfit on Anja. Great post!

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Rebecca

Very interesting post – I would love to see Anja’s outfits on you to compare the way you look and feel in her style. Anja’s expression in the outfits she didn’t like mirrored her discomfort with the look. I learned a lot from these photos and comments.

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Sylvia

Great that you enjoyed this and learned from it Rebecca. Yes, it will be interesting to see how I feel in her clothes…

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Anja van der Vorst

Oops, I really tried to not show my discomfort and look as if I felt great. Guess I am no good at pretending. What I already knew, actually…hahaha.

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Ann

I agree the Deborah, it’s our hair that really defines your style. Anja’a hair is gorgeous and goes with an bohemian styling. The longer I blog, the more I see hair as the central theme of personal styling.

blue hue wonderland

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Sylvia

Yes, it’s indeed a big influence. See my reply to Deborah on what an interesting discussion that could become…

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Chicatanyage

I once lent a dress to a colleague whose suitcase had been lost by the airline. We had a very important presentation to do the next day. Even though we were the same size it was a disaster she looked terrible, the dress just did not suit her and she had to rush out and buy another outfit for the day.

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Sylvia

Yes, this just confirms how personal style and clothing really is…

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Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud

I don’t know Anja- but I can tell she doesn’t “look like her” however she does look fabulous- the last outfit seems like her. The outfits are great however- very chic and wearable- and it shows how much mileage good styling can give garments. What a great idea for an experiment and I for one would love to see someone style you Sylvia!

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Sylvia

Glad you enjoyed this Bella. Quite a few of you are interested in the reverse experiment, so we will make it happen!

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Greetje Kamminga

This was fun!! I really enjoyed it. I like the first outfit the best, the red top and white trousers (she has a bum in those trousers!! I want them as well). And then the black and white outfit with the yellow belt (of course) and third the yellow skirt with the white blouse. I do like that on her too. I totally do not like the last outfit on her. Too manly.
And you are right, what you like, what you choose, what suits your personality is just as important for the look. Looking forward to the reverse match.
Greetje

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Sylvia

Yes, that is why those pants were my favorite for so long. I have a bum in it too! I for one would love to see you in those (kind of) pants!

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Greetje

To me this is a miracle….

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Anja van der Vorst

I had fun doing this experiment, Sylvia, and can’t wait to do it in reverse (you wearing my clothes)!

It was indeed interesting and educational. I went in with an open mind, not excluding to be totally surprised, but that did not really happen. At least not in the sense of: “Wow, Sylvia’s clothes look so great on me.” or something like that.

The realization about the structuredness versus the flowiness of the fabrics was something I would probably not been able to formulate so clearly before this experiment. Soft, flowy fabrics clearly are a key element in my clothes!

Very interesting too, to read Sylvia’s comments and the feedback from others in the comments. The comments about the hair being a key element and being congruent -or not- with your fashion style are very interesting as well.

Kyra Sedgewick! Ha! I wish;-).

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Sylvia

Thanks for doing this with me Anja. It was fun and both of us learned things about ourselves I think. We will do the reverse experiment in a couple of weeks. You may want to start up thinking outfits for me!

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Anja van der Vorst

Yes!

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Nanne

This is a fun experiment and an interesting post, and I really look forward to seeing you in Anja’s clothes! My favorite outfits are no. 1 and no. 3, the first one because she looks really good in red (as do most blondes, IMO) and the pants are stunning on her, and no. 3 because it’s the outfit that I consider most true to her own style. My younger sister sometimes buys clothing for me or talks me into buying or receiving items that she no longer wears, and altohug they fit me in terms of sizing and shape, they don’t really feel “me” because she has a more minimalist style than me.

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Sylvia

Yes style is so personal. That is why you need to be so precise when buying clothes and wearing hand-me-downs rarely works well..

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Jill Pontiere

I love the fact that Anja wears her hair to suit her! I’m with you, Anja! I’m growing out my hair again after getting a pixie cut last March, 2013, and I’m not going to cut it again for a very long time. I’m not going to color it either! I think we as women tend to let to many influences dictate to us how we should look. With Sylvia and all the other wonderful women on this site and others, we are all letting our inner divas out to play and enjoy being exactly who we are, not what or who someone else wants us to be……so a big thank you!

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Anja van der Vorst

You’re welcome, Jill, and I hope your hair will grow fast and beautifully.

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Tracy Guichard

I really liked the wide tan strip outfit. To me it is a great sexy age appropiate outfit. I thought she looked great in it?

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Anja van der Vorst

Really? Gosh, several people like this look. I did not see that coming.

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Amy

Hmmm…. I had another take about the hair.

I change my hair a lot. My hair is like Anya’s, but brown with a bit of grey – I’m 60. (I should get some highlights….) And while I will try different hair styles, shorter and longer, and enjoy them, I always end up back to some version of the “longish-curly-tied-up-loosely look” like Anya’s. It’s laziness more than anything, I’m guessing.

But with clothes, I ALWAYS prefer the more structured fabrics and looks that Sylvia wears. And I’ve always been that way. The softer lines, more flow-y stuff, well, I can enjoy the look on someone else, but I HATE wearing it. I feel awful in it. I can’t wait to get it off, no matter what my current hairstyle is. I never feel like I look good in it, even though when I try things on at stores my friends tell me the stuff looks great on me. To me, my best look is a tailored menswear look with loosely done hair! Seriously! And – that’s when I get the most compliments, probably because that’s when I feel the best about myself.

I think style is tied to the genetic aspects of personality, not to hair.

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Anja van der Vorst

Interesting! Your comment shows how tastes and styles differ and are very personal. Wonderful how we all find ours, sooner or later. Differences and diversity rock(s)!;-)

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Lorraine

I think Anja looks very sassy in your clothes, Sylvia, and her hair is a good contrast and softens the more severe style. I don’t actually like the last one as much as the others because it doesn’t show off her figure. I can’t actually think of a friend who I could do this with but it does raise some good questions. I know that my ‘style’, if you can call it that, is influenced by my hair, in the same way my shape and height are.

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Anja van der Vorst

Well described, Lorraine, how curly, messy hair can soften a more severe style. That’s another perspective; instead of hair and clothes being ‘aligned’ and thus enforcing one and the same style, having hair and clothes contrast and have another effect on one another.

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Lorraine

Well, when I had my corporate role I used to wear tailored suits and my long hair meant they didn’t look too severe. At the time my hair meant I didn’t like too much fuss around my neck but after I had my colours ‘done’ I started wearing scarves, which softened the look. I still feel I am that ‘classic/feminine’ and that’s what came out in the advanced style challenge too. I am drawn to feminine frilly things but feel that with my hair it could look as if I am dressing too young? It’s a minefield!

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Alice - Happiness at Mid Life

This was such a fun post! It goes to show you that you can’t really wear other’s clothes and feel 100% comfortable unless it suits you. I really liked how both you and Anja explained the outfits.

This reminds me of when I worked in retail and trying to put outfits together for customer and really understanding their needs. You really can’t put an outfit together that you just put together for another client and expect both of them to like it.

Alice
http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

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Petra

What a fabulously fun idea 😀 I think Anja looks quite good in the clothes, and I also think she looks younger 😉 Looking forward to seeing you in her clothes!

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Linda

Your blog is very interesting! I found it two weeks ago and have been looking at the older entries. I realize that I already have my own style, which is based on my body type (size 16 and busty) and casual lifestyle here in Florida. 99% of the time I do not dress up here! I too favor natural fabrics but a more fitted style so as not to add to my weight. I do dress up outfits with jewelry and bags. Shoes are always a dilemma, but that is a long story! I cannot wear heels ever! I use orthotics which make it impossible. So “dressing up” is a challenge since a fancy outfit needs heels, or at least something besides sneaker type shoes.

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